Monday, June 11, 2012

Saint Tropez Sparkles - Giraglia Rolex Cup Inshore Race Day 1

The 2012 Giraglia Rolex Cup kicked off today under alluring blue skies in Saint-Tropez in the first of three days of inshore racing featuring an international fleet of over a hundred yachts. The fleet was divided into two groups with the larger boats, including the Maxi yachts (measuring over 60-feet), attacking a 31.9-nautical mile course, while the smaller classes were confronted with a 26.4-nm challenge.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Conditions were testing with 15-18 knots of breeze for the 11:20 CEST start and peaking at 30 knots during parts of the race. Impressing on the water were today’s winners: Jethou (GBR) in Group 0 IRC, Near Miss (SUI) in Group A IRC, Swift (FRA) in Group B IRC, Mandolino (ITA) in Group A ORC and Baciottinho (ITA) in Group B ORC. The inshore racing followed Friday’s prologue race, which ran from Sanremo to Saint-Tropez. Sixty-two boats participated with the 52-foot Maltese yacht Dralion prevailing on handicap.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Meanwhile, thoughts are firmly focused on the week’s main event,  the 242-nm race from Saint Tropez to Sanremo via the Giraglia Rock, located off the northern tip of Corsica, which gets underway on Wednesday 13 June. Yachts representing twenty countries will participate in this historic 60th edition of the race.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“Almost two hundred boats should be participating, demonstrating that the Giraglia Rolex Cup has a place in everyone’s heart. Many nations, from almost everywhere, are represented and above all lots of larger boats which hasn’t always been the case. A very high level of competition is expected,” Carlo Croce, President of event organizers Yacht Club Italiano said.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Croce, whose father Beppe was one of the race’s co-founders, is delighted that the ethos and traditions of the event have been maintained despite the enormous changes that have taken place during sixty years of competition. 
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“The spirit of the Giraglia comes from having a mixed fleet ranging from small, family-run boats to professional crews who have taken part in events like the America’s Cup. This is the essence of the Giraglia Rolex Cup and it is important that it has not been lost,” he added.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Fittingly, this year’s race finishes in Sanremo, just like the inaugural event in 1953 (when the start was from Cannes) and the subsequent editions from 1954-1958 which departed from Saint-Tropez.

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